Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil – මාවිද්දපුරම් කන්දසාමි කෝවිල

Awariyawala Ambalama

Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil

Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil
Published under CC BY 2.0 license by Amila Tennakoon

The Sangam Period poetess said: “Koyil illa ooril kudiyirukka vendaam” (Don’t live in a place, where there is no temple).  Maavittapuram is a holy village, and famous Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil is situated in 30-acre red soil in the Vali North Pradesha Sabha of the Jaffna District.

“Maavittapuram in Tamil means ‘Ma’ (Horse), ‘Vitta’ (Removed) and ‘Puram’ (Holy City). The Chola princess, Maaruthapuraveegavalli, daughter of Thissai Ukkirasinga Cholan, King of the Chola regime in South India, was cursed by a sage when he was in penance. She, along with her friends, laughed and disturbed his penance. The particular sage, with a horse face, cursed Maaruthapuraveegavalli’s face to be turned into a horse face. If she wanted her human face back, she had to travel to Sri Lanka’s North, have a bath at the Keerimalai sacred springs and worship Lord Murugan. Accordingly, she travelled from South India to Jaffna, had a holy bath in the Keerimalai sacred springs and worshipped Lord Murugan. The horse face of Maaruthapuraveegavalli changed into a human face. She presented a Lord Murugan statue and requested her father to build a temple as thanksgiving.

“As per his daughter’s request, King Thissai Ukkirasinga Cholan, built a temple in 789 AD. This place was called Kovil Kadavai at that time, and was changed to Maavittapuram after the miracle. Maavittapuram and Keerimalai are inseparable,” says the Governing Authority and Chief High Priest of Maavittapuram Kanthaswamy temple, Maharajasri D.S. Ratnasabapathy Kurukkal, quoting the Thiruchenthur Puranam.

The original temple had four temple towers facing four directions and five outer routes or paths. The original Maavittapuram Kanthaswamy temple was destroyed by the Portugese during 1700-1800, and rebuilt by the British.

The temple is situated near the Palaly airport, Kaankesanthurai harbour and cement factory. It is an agricultural area with red, fertile soil where betel, banana, mango, jackfruit and tobacco were cultivated.

During the height of the Tiger Terrorist activity, Maavittapuram area was declared a High Security Zone in 1990 and inaccessible to the public. Due this reason, the temple survived  the war with minimum damage to buildings. After the liberation operation of the Sri Lankan army, this temple is again flourishing and accessible to public.

Primary Source : Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Ceylon Today

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Map of  Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil


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Travel Directions to Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil

Route 01 from Colombo to Jaffna

Route 02 from Colombo to Jaffna

Though : Kurunegala – Dambulla – Anuradhapura – Vavunia
Distance :400 km
Travel time : 7-8 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through : Puttlam – Anuradhapura – Vavunia
Distance : 400 km
Travel time : 7-8 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps

Route from Jaffna to Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil

Distance : 18km
Travel time : 20 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map

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